CPU 0.31% $22.84 computershare limited.

Computershare is STUFFED!

  1. 354 Posts.
    Computershare crashes, reboots, crashes again
    By Fleur Leyden
    May 24 2002

    Computershare scrip produced more fascinating manoeuvres yesterday, with the shares this time declining about 3 per cent.

    The Australian shares registry has a "trading update" scheduled for next week, which may provide some clues as to why the stock has been see-sawing of late.

    On Tuesday, the shares lost 13 cents to $2.13 on heavy turnover, their lowest level since 1999. But lo and behold, they were back with a vengeance on Wednesday - well, they managed to scrape back most of Tuesday's lost ground.

    Market sources said the day-to-day bounding was probably due to ANZ's funds management operation losing a mandate to ING, with the portfolio being passed over to ING, including a big chunk of Computershare shares that ING was expected to clean out.

    It figures when you see that Morgan Stanley sold four million shares on Tuesday - or about five times as much as the second-biggest seller.

    On the broking side of things, J.P. Morgan, trading about the edges, said this month that it was no longer a substantial shareholder in Computershare. Morgan came back in yesterday as a substantial shareholder, with 28,372,391 shares, or 5.13 per cent of issued capital.

    Others, such as Merrill Lynch and UBS Warburg are keeping an eye on the stock as well. Merrill Lynch recently upgraded its rating slightly, from "reduce" to "neutral". UBS Warburg analyst Tim Lawson raised his rating to a "hold" from "reduce". Punters must be looking forward to that "trading update" next week for some real news to go on.

    Meanwhile, chief executive Rupert Murdoch was calling the softness of News Corp shares "ironic", considering the group's bright prospects.

    "Given our positive results, I find it ironic that our stock price valuation is near four-year lows," Mr Murdoch said via satellite to a Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia conference in Hong Kong. "I don't know a time when our balance sheet has been quite as fundamentally strong as it is today."

    ABN Amro senior equities sales trader Ben Grodski said: "Although the earning are coming through and the company has turned the corner, we are finding that people are not willing to pay up for any blue sky at the moment . . . and that is what has happened with News Corp."

    The other major culprit for yesterday's index decline was BHP Billiton, thanks to the buoyant dollar. The shares softened 18 cents to $10.95, while Rio Tinto fell 43 cents to $35.95. But gold and base metal explorer Basin Minerals jumped 16 cents to $1.35 as speculation mounted that it was being stalked for a takeover by Iluka Resources. Iluka shares lost one cent to $4.84.

    With low volumes across the board - partly due to terrorism rumours and Morgan Stanley Capital International index changes - analysts said punters were still nervous, and had not forgotten the earnings torpedoes from the likes of Coles Myer and ResMed.

    Woolworths shares were three cents lower yesterday at $12.84 while Coles Myer lost nine cents to $6.50.

    "Woolies had such a stellar run lately so I think people are just taking a bit of money there," Mr Grodski said. "Coles Myer obviously has to get the runs on the board before anyone is going to get in there and start backing John Fletcher again with the hosing down of profits."

    ResMed lost 11 cents to $5.01 following a good run on Wednesday. But Bionic ear maker Cochlear rose 78 cents to $34.75 on thin volume, as investors gave it a second hearing, following several weeks in which it was sent to Coventry.

    In a research note, at ABN Amro analyst Tony Scaramuzza said that even allowing for rising interest rates, Cochlear should still gain about 15 per cent in the next 12 months.

    ABN Amro says Cochlear still justified a price-earnings multiple twice the market average because it had a good chance of hitting its profit targets, there were high barriers to entry in its field, and the company had a technological lead over its rivals of six to 18 months.

    There were signs yesterday that investors were "buying" the Cochlear story, while continuing to shun stocks such as CSL, which fell 48 cents to $36.46.

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